Benefits of Solid Steps
Cross-Section of a Step Installation
Compacting the subsoil ensures we are building on top of a firm foundation that will not settle.1 of 4
Geotextile separates the subsoil from the base material so that there is no contamination between the two and to provide stabilization especially when paired with geogrid.2 of 4
We install and compact 6″ to 8″ of 3/4″ angular crushed clean stone for our base material. This stone has no fines in it allowing water to move freely through the system without being held thus preventing freeze-thaw cycles.3 of 4
On top of the base material is a bedding layer that does not exceed 1.5″ to level the base material and allow the pavers to be set into the base material.4 of 4
After the excavation, we compact the subsoil so that we are building our base on a foundation that is not going to settle.
Geotextile is laid to separate the subsoil from the base material to ensure no contamination and reinforce the base material. Geogrid is also used to help stabilize our base material.
The base material is installed and compacted. The depth of the base material is 6″ to 8″.
The bedding layer is screeded at no greater than 1.5″. This allows us to lay our wall block or steps on a finer grade material than the base material.
Wall blocks are laid level on the bedding layer allowing us to build the remainder of the step up. When installing solid block steps, we will install a slab platform on top of the bedding layer to lay the solid block steps on top of.
How We Install a Solid Block Steps
How We Install a Block Steps
Step #1: Preparation
We begin with a site visit to plan the steps including how many steps will be required, how wide the steps will be, and what the tread depth on each of the steps will be. This allows us to order the correct amount of product and plan the build accordingly.
Step #2: Excavation
The depth of our excavation is determined by the depth of the base (6″ to 8″), plus the 1″ bedding layer, plus the height of the buried course if applicable. This material is excavated and disposed of.
Step #3: Base Preparation
The first step in preparing the base involves compacting the subsoil, laying down geotextile fabric, and layering it with appropriate aggregate materials tailored to the chosen installation method. Following this, a one-inch screed layer is added to create a level surface, preparing it for the placement of the initial course of wall blocks or the slab platform where the steps will be installed.
Step #4: First Course or Slab Platform
Ensuring the wall blocks are level on the screed layer is a crucial step to maintain uniform wall alignment across each course. We use a mallet and torpedo level to achieve precision, and for added confidence, we double-check with an 8-foot level across longer sections to achieve absolute perfection. In cases where solid steps are being installed, we create a slab platform to serve as the foundation for the steps.
Step #5: Building Up the Steps
If we are building steps out of wall block, we will plan our cuts and corners and continue to build up that wall until our desired height and adhere our natural stone caps. If applicable, we will also install hardscape lighting under the caps for added aesthetic appeal and safety.
If we are building solid steps, we build up the steps using spacer units along the sides and placing the steps on top of these to get to our desired height for the steps.
Step #6: Finalize
The project is finalized and you are ready to enjoy your brand new steps for years to come!